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When Joe Hennessy saw Alicia Pennington, the beautiful spoilt daughter of one of Perth’s leading businessmen, he wanted her, but would she make a suitable wife to take to Walara, his sheep station, in the north of Western Australia.
Jack went along the track to the homestead. From behind a straggling acacia tree, a figure leapt onto the path in front of him.
“Natbarria!” he gasped when the laughing young woman threw herself on him.
“I frighten you, Jacky?”
“You did. I thought you were one of your spirit people.” His arm went around her and they continued along the track towards the homestead light shining through the trees. “Have you had tea?” he asked when they went up the stone steps to the kitchen.
She nodded. “Darrn is keeping your dinner hot.”
Jack pushed open the screen door and followed her into the kitchen, illuminated by kerosene lamps hanging from the ceiling. With the black stove pumping out heat, it was hotter than outside.
“So that’s where you got to,” Darrn said when Natbarria came in. “I thought you were going to do the dishes for Ah Chen.”
“No matter, I did them.” Ah Chen smiled at Natbarria.
“I’m off for a shower before I eat,” Jack said.
“I come too.” Natbarria linked her arm through his. “We make love.”
Jack reddened. Though he and Natbarria had been together five months, he couldn’t get used to her casual attitude to sex.
The shower on the verandah was lit by a hurricane lamp hanging on a nail. Natbarria threw off her skirt and blouse. Jack had ordered them with the stores from Perth and insisted she wear them though he knew she would be happier going bare breasted. She undid the buttons on his moleskins and knelt at his feet to untie his bootlaces. He picked up their clothes and tossed them on a stool in the corner of the bathroom, then turned on the shower. Natbarria rubbed soap over his wet skin.
He caressed her dark head. “You’d make a good servant girl.”
She placed her lips against his chest, her hands on his buttocks. He placed his hands under her and lifted her to him. She entwined her slender legs around him, guiding him into her.
“You love me, Jacky,” she whispered.
He thrust into her until they collapsed on the floor, the water from the shower cascading over them.
She rose to her feet and bent over him, her hands entwined in his fair hair and covered his mouth with hers.
Jack reached up and turned off the tap.
Natbarria stood up and opened the door. Before she could step onto the verandah, he gave her a towel. “Wrap this around you.”
She pouted as she knotted the towel around her waist.
“Cover your breasts.”
“Why?” She glowered. “You don’t.”
“I don’t need too. Women cover their breasts. Men don’t. I don’t want other men looking at you.” Especially Jerry Whyte, he thought as he ignored her sulks. He wrapped a towel around his waist and picking up their clothes, went towards the French windows leading into his bedroom. He fumbled in the darkness to light the kerosene lamp by his bed.
Natbarria sat on the bed. The towel dropped to her waist, exposing her pointed, honey-coloured breasts.
Jack thought what his grandmother would say if she knew he had an Aboriginal girl for a lover. There were many things he hadn’t told his Grandmother Pennington. He hadn’t told her about the two Aboriginal women who lived in the homestead: Janda, his father’s woman, and Darrn who nursed him after his mother died.
I live on a farm on the south coast of Western Australia within sight of the Southern Ocean. Substitute Bride is the first novel I’ve published with Wings.
Besides writing novels, I write short stories and poetry, which I’ve had published in many journals, anthologies and magazines.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 318
Paper Weight (lb): 13.4
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